I know it's the middle of the month, but you know what? I'm a rebel. Go with it.
Read & Loved:
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.
My Thoughts: This is A+ prime Linda Howard and I loved it. There's just something about her gruff alpha heroes that are so "caveman" and yet sexy to me. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Morgan and Bo, and how while it was brought on by crappy life circumstances for them both, they found a new beginning in each other.
Ravished by Amanda Quick
There was no doubt about it. What Miss Harriet Pomeroy needed was a man. Someone powerful and clever who could help her rout the unscrupulous thieves who were using her beloved caves to hide their loot. But when Harriet summoned Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to her aid, she could not know that she was summoning the devil himself. . . .
Dubbed the Beast of Blackthorne Hall for his scarred face and lecherous past, Gideon was strong and fierce and notoriously menacing. Yet Harriet could not find it in her heart to fear him. For in his tawny gaze she sensed a savage pain she longed to soothe . . . and a searing passion she yearned to answer. Now, caught up in the Beast’s clutches, Harriet must find a way to win his heart–and evade the deadly trap of a scheming villain who would see them parted for all time.
My Thoughts: I have no idea why this is called Ravished and not some play on Beauty and the Beast. Shrug. A quick read with Quick's typical characters, I still had a lot of fun reading this story. No Harriet's stubbornness or Gideon's "scarred past" weren't surprising but sometimes I just want a nice comfort read, where both main characters are thankful for the love they've found. This provided that in spades and I look forward to rereading it for years to come.
Wyvern by Grace Draven
Alaric has never forgotten nor stopped loving the human woman he left in a dusty village almost a decade earlier. So when he meets her again on the cliffs, wearing old dragon armor and playing her fiddle as if her heart would break, he is overjoyed.
But Elsbeth never knew the man to whom she had given herself was only an illusion for the wyvern. Alaric must convince her that the heart of the beast is no less devoted than the heart of the man, and that leaving her a second time will not last another decade.
Elsbeth Weaver, a talented fiddler, gave up the man she loved to care for her ailing grandfather. Now, eight years later, she must risk her life to save her grandfather from a lynching, by playing for the wyvern that has terrorized her village throughout the summer. When she comes face-to-face with the beast at the haunted cliffs of Maldoza, she is both terrified and fascinated. Something about the creature reminds her of her long-lost lover, something more than just a shared name.
My Thoughts: Even when you go into this story knowing what has to be true, that it's not a coincidence that the bard and wyvern share the same name, it still ended up being a really good read. Draven has a very compelling voice in my opinion, and a way of creating a world that grabs the reader almost immediately. I can't decide if I'd consider this one light on the romance or not now that I think about it. The HEA is the point and the culmination of the novella, but enough time is spent on other aspects of the story that it almost seemed to go by too quickly for my tastes. Something to think about I guess, but still highly recommended.
I'm Looking Forward To:
Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire
Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.
Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.
As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.
Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.
My Thoughts: I HAVE IT IN MY HANDS! Woohoo! I can't wait for a dedicated few hours so I can read this one.
Cast in Flight by Michelle Sagara
Private Kaylin Neya already has Dragons and Barrani as roommates. Adding one injured, flightless Aerian to her household should be trivial. Sure, the Aerian is Sergeant Moran dar Carafel, but Kaylin's own sergeant is a Leontine, the definition of growly and fanged. She can handle one Aerian.
But when a walk to the Halls of Law becomes a street-shattering magical assassination attempt on the sergeant, Kaylin discovers that it's not the guest who's going to be the problem: it's all of the people who suddenly want Moran dar Carafel dead. And though Moran refuses to tell her why she's being targeted, Kaylin is determined to discover her secret and protect her at all costs—even if keeping Moran safe means dealing with Aerian politics, angry dragons and something far more sinister.
My Thoughts: Still one of my favorite fantasy series. I reread the ending of Cast in Honor and was reminded of how heartbreaking her books can be. I'm still super invested in finding out what happens next though :D.